The Washington Post is calling for an end to the ongoing campaign of anti-LGBTI repression by Egypt, a country that depends on huge amounts of American aid. Prison sentences imposed last month on 11 allegedly gay men near Cairo triggered the newspaper’s response, though the editorial does mention that the homophobic crackdown has been under way since 2013:
Egypt’s latest target: Gays
Apologists for Egyptian strongman Abdel Fatah al-Sissi say the brutal repression he has unleashed since leading a 2013 military coup is necessary to combat domestic terrorists, including a branch of the Islamic State. That does not explain why dozens of secular liberal democrats have been imprisoned, nor why journalists, civil society groups, human rights activists and even an Italian doctoral student have become targets for security forces and prosecutors. It also does not explain an underpublicized but ugly crackdown on a community that has nothing to do with Islamist extremism: gay and transgender people. …
Egypt’s assault on gay men is another example of how much of the world remains hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, despite the recent progress in the West. As we reported last month, some 75 countries still criminalize same-sex acts [That’s a link to a United Nations list like this blog’s list of 79 countries with anti-LGBT laws]; Islamist extremists recently assaulted and killed two gay activists in Bangladesh. Authoritarian regimes in Russia, Uganda and elsewhere deliberately inflame hatred of gay people as a way of distracting attention from their own corruption.
It’s hard to know if that is Mr. Sissi’s intention. Certainly, he has plenty of reason to distract Egyptians, who appear increasingly fed up with the government’s failure to revive the economy or defeat the real terrorists based in the Sinai Peninsula. What’s clear is that the campaign against gay people is one of the multiple ways in which repression in Egypt has outstripped that of any regime in modern times. It has nothing to do with combating terrorism or even Islamism — and sooner or later, it’s sure to backfire.
For more information, read the full editorial in the Washington Post.
- Why such silence in Egypt amid anti-LGBTI crackdown? أيضًا بالعربية (April 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Egypt crackdown targets human rights defenders (March 2016, 76crimes.com)
- 20 LGBTI-related arrests in Egypt, Indonesia (September 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Egypt’s LGBTI crackdown continues; what can be done? (March 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Slew of arrests in Egypt (November 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Egypt: 8 imprisoned on anti-gay charges, 23 for protest (November 2014, 76crimes.com)
- 8 jailed on homosexuality charges in Morocco, Egypt (October 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Political tactics underlie Egypt’s ‘gay wedding’ arrests (September 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Crackdown on LGBT Egyptians: Why now? (May 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Another 10 anti-gay arrests in Egypt (November 2013, 76crimes.com)
- Seeking public approval, Egyptian police arrest 14 for gay sex (October 2013, 76crimes.com)